Blacksburg Boxing and Fitness lets students ‘hit some stuff’
- Katelyn Meade, assistant lifestyles editor
- Mar 19, 2017
- Carson Bartlett / Collegiate Times
Kevin and Augusta Bowen are both Virginia Tech alumni and opened Blacksburg Boxing and Fitness in September 2015.
Kevin and Augusta Bowen, both Virginia Tech alumni, started Blacksburg Boxing and Fitness in September 2015 out of the Little Leapers ballet studio, located at First and Main. Little Leapers was looking for someone to rent the studio hourly, and for Kevin (who had recently moved back to Blacksburg with his wife Augusta since his graduation in 2011), who was trying to gauge interest in opening a boxing gym in the area, this low-risk situation was perfect.
While Kevin, a native of Baltimore, had a heavy bag hanging in his basement while growing up, he didn’t really begin boxing until his senior year when he joined the boxing club at Virginia Tech, which disbanded in 2012.
Kevin has always had a passion for health and fitness, even while majoring in entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and management, as well as marketing. But after his graduation, he “took a desk job” at CMG leasing in Blacksburg before meeting his now-wife Augusta, who graduated in 2013. The couple moved to Baltimore after her graduation, and Kevin began to pursue his personal training certification.
“It all kind of happened simultaneously. I was working on my personal training certification, we moved back home (to Baltimore), and there were other circumstances that got me into boxing — and specifically hitting things — and that honestly was just health-related issues with my family,” Kevin said. “My dad had undergone a surgery and … he’s no longer with us, let’s just put it that way. But for those six months or so that I was going from hospital to hospital to hospital with him … I just started calling up places where I could go relieve some stress and hit some stuff.”
Kevin had already begun growing his personal training business in Baltimore, but when Augusta got a job offer back in Blacksburg the day after the couple returned from their honeymoon in July 2015, Kevin saw this as the perfect opportunity to fulfill his dream of opening his own gym, which he now knew had to be boxing.
“I really wanted that way to differentiate myself from other trainers. Because in my opinion, anybody can teach you how to lift weights and run on a treadmill and that kind of stuff — and that is great, if you need help with that. But I really wanted to add additional value to our clients that I was working with,” Kevin said.
Blacksburg Boxing and Fitness moved to its current location in January 2016, but when they first looked at the building, it was bare.
“There was a water leak, and it destroyed the entire interior of the entire building. There was no drywall, no HVAC, no electric — nothing. It was basically just a big skeleton of 2 by 4s, and totally wide open,” Kevin said.
Augusta and Kevin saw this as an opportunity because they could now build a gym that was perfect for boxing, from rubber flooring to the wooden blocks that stabilize the heavy bags hanging from the ceiling.
“Everything was specifically engineered for us, for this purpose,” Kevin said.
Kevin started building the business plan when they moved back in 2015.
“I think getting the boss lady (Augusta) on board with that was the biggest challenge … because you’re all in once you get your own spot,” Kevin said with a laugh while looking over at his wife.
The gym has grown substantially since its move to this location in January of last year. Starting out with just 25 members, the gym now has more than 190. And the couple, who welcomed a new son just eight weeks ago, could not be more thrilled.
“We live and breathe boxing and fitness, and I think if we didn’t we probably would have killed each other by now. We’re here 70 to 80 hours a week, we have a cot in the back, so we pretty much live here,” Kevin said. “This (business) is my second wife I guess — we are married to the gym. But what makes it all worth it is that it is absolutely what we are passionate about.”